The Supreme Court docket in Greece has dominated as we speak that the proprietor of a shady Bitcoin trade platform by means of which ransomware operators laundered cyber-crime cash will likely be extradited to Russia, as a substitute of the US or France, international locations which additionally requested the hacker’s extradition.
The suspect on the heart of this tug-of-war is Alexander Vinnik, additionally recognized underneath the nickname of “Mr. Bitcoin,” and the proprietor of the BTC-e.com cryptocurrency trade.
US authorities shut down BTC-e in July 2017. Vinnik was arrested the identical month by Greek police whereas vacationing in a seaside resort within the nation’s northern Halkidiki area.
The US requested Vinnik’s extradition on a case involving 21 expenses associated to cash laundering and the operation of an unlicensed cash trade. Vinnik confronted a mixed most sentence of as much as 35 years in jail, together with varied fines, within the US case alone.
As quickly as Vinnik’s arrest grew to become public, Russia filed an extradition declare of their very own. Russian authorities stated Vinnik was additionally a suspected in an investigation in Russia in relation to a €9,500 ($11,000) fraud cost. Particulars in regards to the case remained murky.
France filed its personal extradition declare in June 2018, for involvement in “cybercrime, cash laundering, and membership in a felony group and extortion.”
Greek judges waivered within the case at each flip and with each enchantment. They initially agreed to extradite Vinnik to the US, then to France over the summer season, then to Russia in the beginning of September.
The case finally reached Greece’s Supreme Court docket, and as we speak, it was determined that Vinnik ought to face expenses in Russia, the suspect’s native nation, and the place he expressed his need to be trialed, primarily due to the thinner expenses introduced towards him.
On the identical day Greek authorities have been arresting Vinnik, a crew of researchers that additionally included Google staffers, introduced findings on the Black Hat USA 2017 safety convention, revealing that 95 percent of all ransomware ransom payments have been cashed out and transformed into fiat foreign money by means of Vinnik’s BTC-e portal.
Additionally on the identical day, a bunch of Bitcoin safety specialists calling themselves WizSec printed the results of an investigation that linked Vinnik’s Bitcoin accounts to laundering funds stolen from the Mt. Gox trade.
Researchers stated that Vinnik was additionally concerned in laundering funds stolen from different cryptocurrency exchanges, comparable to Bitcoinica, Bitfloor, and different platforms they didn’t identify on the time.
US authorities stated in an indictment that Vinnik’s platform helped launder over $four billion in unlawful funds. BTC-e’s web site, earlier than it went down, claimed to have dealt with over $7 billion throughout its lifetime.
Vinnik extradition to Russia is now within the palms of the Greek Justice Minister. The Minister can decline to signal, though, state officers not often overrule justice programs on these choices.